Kansas ‘retaliation’ bill would allow police to arrest people who complain about officers

By David Edwards
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 9:37 EDT
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"Stock Photo: Police Officer Arresting A Woman With Handcuffs" on Shutterstock: http://tinyurl.com/mvdqhng
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A Kansas bill being considered by the House Standing Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice would give police the power to arrest people who file complaints against officers if those allegations were proven false.

Kansas Exposed pointed out this week that someone on the Corrections and Juvenile Justice had anonymously filed HB 2698, which would allow people to be charged with felony perjury.

And the measure would prevent any other law enforcement agency from taking up the investigation once it had been closed.

Ironically, the anonymously-filed legislation would also ban anonymous complaints against police.

“People in Wichita are already afraid to file complaints against the WPD, because the department has a well-known reputation for retaliating against those who do, and this bill would render such retaliation legal,” Kansas Exposed noted. “Furthermore, the bill clearly prevents an outside agency, such as the Kansas Bureau of Investigations, from opening an investigation into an allegation that the WPD has already ruled upon.”

The Washington Post called HB 2698 “pretty awful” because it gives police who are suspected of abuse the right to know all the evidence in the case before answering any questions, in addition to prohibiting other agencies from investigating and allowing citizens to be charged with felonies if the complaints are deemed false.

“No respectable police detective would conduct an investigation this way,” the Post‘s Radely Balko wrote. “Any police interrogator will tell you that you never let a suspect know everything you know about the allegations against him. ”

“A bad cop who is given the entire complaint can construct a narrative informed by everything the investigators know, safe in the knowledge that there is no additional information that could later contradict him,” he explained.

Comedy Central host Jon Stewart recently slammed the Kansas Legislature as the “Meth Lab of Democracy” for a series of controversial bills, from allowing parents to beat their children until the point of bruising to legalizing discrimination against LGBT people.

Watch the segment below, broadcast Feb. 20, 2014.

[Stock Photo: Police Officer Arresting A Woman With Handcuffs" on Shutterstock]

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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